Many professionals find developing a business plan a daunting and somewhat scary thing to do. In law, so much of what a professional does is taught and yet one of the most important parts of practice – finding and keeping clients – is not. Lawyers like things that are definable and business plans can be made to be just that.
If we break down a business plan to its simplest form, there are three areas: Objectives;
Strategies; and Action Plans.
Well conceived Objectives will help focus towards specific results, provide targets, define success, minimize subjectivity and establish a framework for accountability. The objectives are what will be measured.
Strategies on the other hand are broad and set a direction for the plan. This is the long term view that defines the business plan and establishes a guideline for evaluating progress.
Finally the Action Plan defines the work to be done. The work could be networking, speeches, writing, etc. Each item in the action plan is related to specific objectives and the overall strategy.
After working through the Objective, Strategies and Action Plans, it is possible to develop a concise plan that will help capture who you are, where you want to go and how you want to get there.
A good business plan for a professional does not have to be a book, a simple one page document that is referred to often is ideal. Developing a plan and putting it in a drawer is the worst thing that can be done.
Once the plan has been created it is a great idea to share it with your peers and the partners you work with. By sharing the plan, other people be able to add valuable feedback to what you have created and they will be in a position to help you achieve your goals.
Although only three areas were listed to develop a simple plan does not mean this is a quick project. Enough time should be set aside to asses goals, determine the necessary steps to achieve the goals and figure out who may be able to help you achieve the goals. Most plans take a lot of time and a lot of clear thought to be effective. A good plan should be reviewed regularly to see what changes are required to meet the stated goals. Or, for that matter, determine if the goal is still the same.